By Scott Binkley
South Bend, IN (5-5-12) What a difference seven days can make in Northern Indiana. Last Saturday, it was winter coats, gloves and blankets. This week saw shorts and t-shirts on the hundreds of fans who witnessed some great racing at the South Bend Motor Speedway. Doug Fox, from South Bend, celebrated Cinco de Mayo by scoring his first ever win in the opening Front Wheel Drive heat event and then followed it up by winning his first ever feature. Fox, the only double winner of the night, outraced fast qualifier, Tom Taylor of Michigan City for the feature win. For his efforts, Doug took home one of the huge trophies honoring former track starter and personal friend and mentor, Ralph Yarbrough. Sean Stuart of North Liberty, Jason Horton of South Bend and Joe Grevenstuk of Goshen rounded out the top five with Ed Martz of Niles, Addison Davis of North Liberty and Jeff Harrell of Niles completing the field. Fox also beat our Taylor and Grevenstuk for the heat win. Taylor turned in a 14.576 for fast qualifying time.
In the highly competitive Mini Stock feature, Ben McCallum of South Bend, battling a quickly failing engine. held off a last minute challenge from defending champion Rich Hensley, also of South Bend. 2011 rookie, Nick Kretchmer of Granger came home for third over Drew Davis of South Bend, David Raley Jr of Osceola, Chad Lindsey of Plymouth, Larry Fullbright of Quincy, MI. and Derek Davis of South Bend. Kretchmer and Hensley scored heat victories while McCallum turned in a qualifying lap of 13.592 for fast time.
A total of seventeen Street Stocks turned out for the opener but mechanical woes kept a few in the pits for the night. When the checker fell on the feature, it was Danny Brown of LaPorte in front over John Long of Niles and Cindy Stremme of South Bend. Greg Gifford of Michigan City was next over Kenny Esmont and James Haisley, both of South Bend. Karl Fuchs of Fish Lake, Vernon Knight of Michigan City, Doug Close of South Bend and Kyle Thornton of Osceola rounded out the top ten. Gifford and Derek Wunder took heat race honors with Brown turning in fast time at 13.669.
In Sportsman competition, it was Robbie Ferrier of Dowagiac besting defending champion, Rodney Smith of Elkhart for the 45 lap event. Corey Woods, in the Williamson Auto & Machine pink Cadillac, of South Bend finished third over Plymouth’s Rich Boal, Charlie Cotton of Claypool, Robert Haisley of South Bend, Ryan Powell of Mishawaka and Rick Wolkins of Niles. Mike Williams of Buchanan and Les McLean of South Bend rounded out the top ten. Powell and Boal took heat wins while Brandon Zachery of Paw Paw, MI turned in fast time at 12.913.
Closing out the evening, which saw a bright full Super Moon floating high above the action, was the Late Model 50 lap feature. In one of the most evenly matched races in recent years, it was Kenny Lollar Jr of Buchanan coming home first over South Bend veteran, Ronnie McLean and Rich Boal, Brandon Zachery and Steve Stacy of Plymouth. Lee Slaton led Mike Tutino of Walkerton, Mike Verduin of North Liberty, Ken Talboom of South Bend and Fred Reed of Niles, the top ten. McLean and Jason Howard took heat wins with Robbie Ferrier, one of several drives doing double duty, posting fast time at 11.975.
A big thank you goes out to the South Bend Washington High School Marching Band for entertaining the fans during opening ceremonies. Hopefully, this was the first of many appearances by area young people. It was much enjoyed.
Next Saturday, we honor all mothers with a special tribute along with the “People’s Choice” awards for the best appearing car in each division. Who will take home the award? There are lots of fine looking cars in every class. Come on out and cheer on your favorites. For more information, visit our website at www.RaceSouthBendMotorSpeedway.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Till then, think warm and dry and we will see you at the races.